Dr. Williams is board-certified in Internal Medicine with expertise in chronic care, health and wellness, disease management, and preventive care. She is currently Primary Care doctor at Doctor Spring and tells us the 3 most important things to improve your heart health.
People often underestimate the effect our diets and lifestyles have on our heart. The most noticeable impact we immediately think of is on weight. Even with just the weight factor, our heart will also suffer. When we weigh more than we should, our heart works extra hard to pump extra blood to our system. This puts a lot of strain on our heart. With the COVID lockdowns and the new normal limiting our exposure to the outdoors, many are forgetting about their heart health. Since working from home became the new norm, we stay for days at a time fixed at home in front of our laptops. There’s less physical activity unless we plan it. Although genetics and age are two uncontrollable risk factors for heart disease, there are many factors you can control such as diet, physical activity, and lifestyle. Here are 3 simple things you can do daily to improve your heart health:
1.) WALK. This is the most underrated physical activity. It’s one of the easiest things we can do to strengthen our heart. You don’t need to do those high intensity workouts just to get some cardio in. Learn to love walking so it won’t feel so tiring. Walk to the store, take the stairs, these little things if done regularly and on the daily will give you the cardio that you need. Improve your endurance so you can easily do your daily activities.
2.) WATCH YOUR LIFESTYLE. Just because you get in some little exercise you are safe to drink as much as you want or smoke as much as you want. Doctors really advise against smoking because it does so much damage to your organs, especially your heart. You should also get enough sleep. Studies show that those who sleep less than 6 hours have steeper increases in their blood pressure. High blood pressure is a risk factor for heart diseases.
3.) WATCH WHAT YOU EAT. It doesn’t mean you should go on a strict all-plant, vegan, no sugar diet. It just means you should limit eating unhealthy foods and always include vegetables in your diet. Healthy foods for your heart include whole grains and seeds and other foods high in Omega-3 and fiber, such as flaxseeds and chia seeds. Foods high in fiber are also heart-healthy, such as leafy greens, beans, and nuts.
Now is the time to be more conscious of our heart health and start intentionally improving our lifestyle.